Dead Funny

July 17, 2009 at 2:24 am (Random Writings) ()

*Author’s note:  For our final, we were supposed to write an extended scene into a full story.  At first, I started writing Donovan’s Intro, but half way through I realized I’d been writing yet another character study without a plot.  So I freaked.  It took me some time to get my act back in order, but I finally wrote this, based partly off my excitment to be attending a Jim Gaffigan concert that weekend.  Jim didn’t die in a plane crash, but I did succeed in writing an actual story, and I was rewarded with…80 out of 100 points.  So in total, my progress since the beginning of the source was a whopping 5 points.  Still, as with most of my writing, I’m proud of my work here, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Dead Funny

 

Charlie had been looking forward to this weekend for close to a year now.  He’d done his best to organize everything so that nothing would stop him from this one perfect moment.  Come hell or high water, blizzard, snowstorm or Rapture, he was going to meet Jake Bosco, and not even God would dare challenge him in these plans.  All he needed was to make it home in time.

            Portland was where Charlie called home most frequently, although in recent years he had to diversify his answer by changing “Portland” to “Eugene” and “home” to “I attend school in.”  The two locations are by no means an extreme distance apart, hardly two hours away if the average freeway speed stays at 80, but two hours is still two hours or more any way you slice it.  Add to this a car that’s less than reliable and two hours might as well be two days.

            “Angela, I don’t care what you’ve got going for Friday, if you want a ride into town, your schedule better damn well be freed or else you’re walking.”

            “Charlie, I have class at noon until 2.  That should be plenty of time.”

            “Unacceptable.  Skip your class.”

            “What time do you have to be into town anyway?”

            “The concert is at 7, so I need to be there at 6:30.  Angie, if you keep me from seeing Jake Bosco, our friendship is over, a’ight?”

            “Pff, Jake Bosco isn’t even that great anyway…”

            Actually, Jake Bosco was one of the greatest comics performing around the world, and by the way Charlie reacts to Angela’s assessment, you can tell he agrees with the general consensus on the matter.  Recently, Jake Bosco has been making a very successful name for himself as a stand-up comic after making frequent appearances on the popular late night show, practically being a guest host due to how regularly he’s seen alongside the actual host.  Critics have been saying that Jake’s on the verge of breaking out into other media and hitting the success of the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, or Bill Cosby.  But not yet, so it’s still possible to see a show of Jake’s without having to already be connected with the Mafia in some way or living in a city larger than Portland.

            “Angie, I’ve had these tickets for ten months now.  As soon as I got the e-mail alert that he’d be performing nearby I rushed to get tickets, and I managed to get awesome seats.”

            “How far back are you?”

            “I’m in the aisle seat of row K.  I’m right there.”

            “That’s eleven rows back.  It’s hardly front row, Charlie.”

            Charlie stares for a few seconds in disbelief.  “When we’re talking about Jake Bosco, row K is front and center.”

            Months and months ago, Charlie began doing the leg-work for getting Jake Bosco to perform in his state of Oregon.  Granted, all he could do was continuously send Jake messages over Myspace suggesting he come perform for him, but it felt like every little bit made a difference.

 

“Dear Jake Bosco,

I think you should perform in Oregon sometime soon.  It’s perfect for you!  I’m almost hurt you haven’t come sooner!  We love Bosco!

Signed, Charlie Montague.”

 

“Dear Charlie Montague,

I actually just performed in Oregon no more than a month ago.  And you’re right, Oregon is great!  You guys probably love me more than my own parents, and they’re Catholic, so you know that’s tough love.  I hope to come again as soon as possible.

Signed,

Jake Bosco.”

 

“Dear Jake,

Oh man!  I’m a terrible fan for not realizing when you were here!  I’ll make it up to you, I swear!  Next time you come, you can stay at my place.  I’ll even make waffles for breakfast!

Signed,

Charlie.”

 

“Mmm waffles!

-Jake”

 

            As far as Charlie was concerned, after the initial exchange he and Jake Bosco were destined to be best friends forever, and one thing best friends do is support each other, so for a solid week after their “conversation,” Charlie went about voting for Oregon as the next stop on Jake Bosco’s nationwide tour on his official website, clicking “Come to Oregon!” more times than he can remember.  And sure enough, one day an e-mail is sent to his computer letting him know that Jake Bosco, the Jake Bosco, would be performing in Portland, Oregon in ten months.

            “Angie, I’m the reason he’s coming in the first place.  If I hadn’t done all that work, he’d still be traveling around Canada for all we know.  I owe it to him to meet him face-to-face tomorrow night.”

            “Whatever, Charlie.  See you tomorrow at 2.”

            “No later than that!”

            “Goodnight Charlie.”

            As Angela walks away, Charlie can’t help but notice the way the fading light of dusk seems to hit Angela’s long golden hair in just such a way that he’s blinded momentarily, and not just from the glare.  He slowly runs his hands through his common brown hair, feeling in some way that his life would have been far better had he been born with sexy blonde hair as well.  He takes one last look at Angela before he walks away.

            “Damn angels…”

 

The day had arrived at long last.  Charlie had done everything in his power to keep this day clear of any and all deterrents that could keep him from seeing Jake Bosco at the appropriate time.  He made sure he had no classes for the afternoon, no extra functions he’d promised to attend.  He checked his car close to a half dozen times just in case it was trying to trick him for one reason or another by breaking down whenever he wasn’t looking.  Luckily, that wasn’t the case.  There was only one thing keeping him.

            “Angela…where the hell are you…?”

            The time was now 2:56.  Almost an hour later than she was supposed to meet him.  Various thoughts began rushing through his head.  He considered leaving her more than once, just hopping in the car and driving away.  He also considered storming into her class and demanding she be excused.  Even the thought of sitting in her room until she came home seemed like a perfectly logical idea, save for the inevitable restraining order that would follow.

            “Tick, tock Angie…”

            At 3 o’clock exactly, the school’s main bell began to ring.  Once.  Twice.  A third time.

            “Charlie!  I’m here!”  The bell has hardly finished ringing a third time as Angie makes a mad dash towards Charlie, backpack slung over one shoulder, pillow in the other arm.  “Let’s go!”

            Without even greeting her, Charlie’s in the car, key turned and engine snarling.  Smoke sputters out of the exhaust pipe, creating a dense fog around the immediate area.  Charlie about throws the car into drive as a furious tap on the window reminds him to unlock the side door and let Angela come, too.

            “Stop your dilly-dallying Angie and get in!”

            “Me stop my dilly-dallying?  I should punch you right now.”

            “Shut up!  Jake Bosco!  Get in!”

            And they were off; the two hardly registering that the car was in motion before having to swerve to avoid killing a man on a bicycle.

            “Damn idiot!  Can’t he see that I’m in a hurry?”

            “Charlie, the whole world can tell you’re in a damned hurry.  God knows for dang sure you’re in a damned hurry, and I doubt He’s happy.”

            “God had better not stand in my way either, or else I’ll run Him down, too.”

            Not too terribly long into their drive, the first signal that something’s attempting to stand in their way forms in the sound of a painful rattling from the underside of the car.

            “Charlie, do you hear that?”

            “Hear what?”

            “That rattling noise?  Sounds like something may be wrong with your car.”

            “No.  Nothing can be wrong with my car.  I checked it before we left.  Everything’s fine.”

            “We should pull over and take a look.”

            “No, I can fix this problem.”  Charlie reaches over and clicks the radio dial over.

            “…and it was like someone just slammed me over the head with a cinderblock or something!”

            “There, can you still hear any rattling from my car?”

            “No, but I can hear a few terrible radio DJ’s wasting my time with mindless chatter.  Pull over.”

            “If we pull over I’m kicking you out, because right now the only thing annoying me is you talking.”

            Silence.  The two just stare at each other for a moment, only breaking eye contact for Charlie to keep from driving into a ditch.  Angela opens her mouth about to speak, but quickly shuts it again and turns away, burying her head in her pillow as she smashes it against the window.  For the next hour, there is only silence, save for the sounds of a pair of pathetic radio voices, the honking of car horns, and a faint rattling noise.

 

“Charlie, I have to pee.  Pull over at the next rest stop.”

            Charlie looks over with a face of utter astonishment and disbelief.  “You’re kidding me.  You can hold it.”

            “No I can’t.  Please, pull over.  I really need to use the bathroom.”

            “You should have thought of that before you brought a bottle of water.”

            “Charlie…please?”

            “No.  We’ll be in town in under an hour anyway.  Show some character and keep your legs shut for once.”

            Punch.  Swerve.  Honk.  Finger.

            “What the hell?!”

            “Charlie, you’re unbelievable!”

            Silence once more.  Charlie takes this time of peace to reflect on a few things, mostly how it’ll be seeing Jake Bosco in person for the first time.  And he begins to worry, noticeably showing a pained look as he drives.  Will it be everything he’d hoped for?  What if the act isn’t funny?  What if he meets Jake Bosco and he turns out to be a jerk?  All of this thinking puts a sad look on Charlie’s face, almost making him cry.

            “Charlie, I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have punched you.  I just got mad, that’s all.”

            “What?”

            “It’s just…you know…”

            Charlie has a blank stare for a while before thinking of anything to say.  “Hey, you ever hear Jake Bosco’s bit about road signs?”

            “What?”

            “You know, where he’s all like, ‘So what’s up with the signs you see along the road anyway that try and tell you information you already know?  Like I’m driving and I see a sign that says “Caution, road slippery when wet.”  Well duh!  Next thing we’ll see a sign that says “Notice, traction good when dry,” or “It gets dark at night.”  What’s the logic anymore?’”

            Angela weakly smiles at Charlie’s pathetic rendition of one of Jake Bosco’s staple jokes.  “No, I haven’t heard that one before.  You know any others?”

            “Do I know any others?  Hah!  I know every bit Angie.  Like the one with…”  He stops as the traffic comes to a complete halt.  “Hey?  What’s up?”  Charlie leans his head out the window to see a sign a few yards down that says “Road work ahead.  May cause delays.”

            “Don’t worry Charlie, we’ll get there in time.”  She gently starts rubbing his shoulder as his head drops, hitting the steering wheel with a soft thump.

 

“You’ve been listening to Mac and Scooter on the Mac Attack, Portland’s favorite afternoon station…”

            “Turn this off already, these guys are worthless.”  Angela moves to switch the radio off, having her hand gently batted away as Charlie continues looking straight ahead.  “Charlie, what gives?  You like these guys or something?”

            “Not really.  They do traffic reports every so often, so I’d like to find out if they have any tips.”

            Things have become dull for the two, finding little to do other than sit and stare out the front of the car as the rest of the road putters along, hardly moving every minute or two.  Angela turns her head to glance out the side window, seeing the guy in the car next to them rocking out to some high-bass music, flipping his long hair around and around, about to give himself whiplash from proving his band loyalty.

            “Angie, it’s 5:15.  I’m not gonna make it.”

            “You’ve got plenty of time.  Any second now we’ll be moving at full speed.”

            As if someone ahead of them hears Angela’s optimistic suggestion, the rest of the cars shift back into gear and take off.  The hand-banger in the nearby car stops his fanfare and shakes his head, attempting to orient himself in the proper location once more before speeding up and joining the rest of the freeway traffic.  Charlie takes a quick scan of the area before stamping on the gas pedal, forcing the car to lurch ahead before rocketing into the carpoolers lane.

            “Slow down!  We’re not in that big of a hurry!”  Charlie’s eyes dart over to Angela for a split second, looking back ahead before they register that they even acknowledged her.  “Charlie!  I said slow down!  You’re gonna get pulled over, and then you’ll just be later than you already are.”

            “I’m only going 90.  I’m keeping up with traffic, so if a cop sees someone speeding he’d have to pull everyone over and not just me.”

            “That logic is terrible.  Slow down.”

            “…And the Mac Attack is back Jack!  We’ve got the hourly news updates for you all…”

            “I’m not slowing down.”

            “Then pull over and let me drive.  You’re probably just tired anyway from worrying so much.  You need a nap.”

            “You’re not driving.”

            “Pull over.”  No response.  “Pull over damnit!”  Charlie lets out a huff, turns his head to Angela, and begins to slow down to a reasonable speed.  He shrugs to her to gain approval.  “Thank you.”

            “…In the world of business, Elephant Inc. has reported a new product is soon to come out in their Toughskin line of snow boots…”

            The traffic begins to slow once more, coming to a stop again.  A vein in Charlie’s forehead nearly pops before his eyes do the same.

            “Charlie?”

            “What?!”  Angela recoils from his sharp outburst.  She thinks for a second before deciding whether to speak or not.  “I’m sorry, what?”

            “I still need to pee.  Could we maybe pull over soon?”  Charlie purses his lips as he glares dead ahead, slowly shaking his head.  “I’m not surprised…”  Angela once more turns away to stare out her window, resting her chin on her arm.  Charlie turns the radio up without looking.

            “…We’ve got some traffic updates for you all.”  Charlie perks up at this.  “Those of you driving northbound on I-5, expect some delays.”

            Both Charlie and Angela chime in with a “No kidding.”  After saying this they look to each other and begin laughing.

            “Hey Angie, you hear Jake Bosco’s bit about the flying car?”

            “Charlie, I’ve heard every single Jake Bosco bit both now and forever.  Yes, I’ve heard his bit about the flying car.”  They don’t say anything for a few seconds until Angela breaks in with ‘Hey what’s the deal with the flying car?’  Charlie smiles again.  ‘I mean, the thing’s supposed to be here by now, we’re living in the 21st Century.  I know our government lies to us and everything, but if a cartoon character can have one, why can’t we?  I can exist in the 3rd dimension but the little animated guy thinks he’s better than me by zooming around in the coolest car ever.’

            General laugher from both.  Traffic picks up and a sense of calm hits everyone as a heavy sigh is heard.

            “Angie, I’m really glad you came along.”

            “Me too, Charlie.  Me too.”

            “…And finally, we have some sad news to report.  Jake Bosco, beloved comedian and all around funny man, passed away today when his charter flight went down somewhere over I-5.  Eye witnesses say…”

            No one says anything.  Charlie pulls the car over as soon as he can, turning the engine off and letting his head fall onto the horn, creating the agonizing noise that he himself cannot produce at the moment.  Angela can do nothing but pull him close and hold him as his face remains devoid of any emotion whatsoever.  When Angela looks up she can faintly make out the cause of the traffic slowdown in the form of a number of emergency vehicles and a wrecked object billowing smoke.  She shakes her head and buries her face in Charlie’s hair.

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